Saturday, 30 November 2013

A Letter from the Chief of Air Force

Yesterday I received a letter and tonight I was asked to share the sentiments contained it in it at the dinner.   I wanted to share this with all of you who have supported Aussie Heroes. That includes those who have sewn for us, be it one quilt, one laundry bag or many.  It also includes those who have supported us with with donations of materials, money or otherwise.  I wanted to make sure that those of you who could not attend the dinner were able to read it as well tonight.

Aussie Hero Quilts
c/- Mrs Jan-Maree Ball

Dear Jan-Maree

I have recently been reminded of the outstanding work being undertaken by your organisation and dedicated volunteers.  Your commitment to the serving men and women of the Australian Defence Force, our wounded warriors program and families is simply staggering and your selfless efforts epitomise all that is true and good about the Australian Spirit.

Your gifts have a tremendously uplifting effect on our members, which remind them that they are never alone and that their service and sometimes sadly, their personal sacrifices, are valued by the Australian Community.

I understand that your volunteers recently achieved a milestone of 2,200 quilts since January 2012, and in excess of 3,600 Laundry Bags.  This is a truly outstanding achievement and you should be extremely proud.

I am sorry that I cannot be with you for your dinner in Brisbane on 30 November, however, I extend my thoughts and appreciation to each and everyone of you on this night.

Yours sincerely,

G.C. Brown, AO
Air Marshall
Chief of Air Force

29 November 2013

I used the opportunity that tonight presented me to thank a few special people.  My husband, David, for one, for his quiet support and continual acceptance for my passion for Aussie Heroes.  I also thanked three people whose support, often behind the scenes, has made my job much easier and a whole lot less lonely.  They are Debbie, Angela and Caroline.

Finally I would like to thank all of you who have supported us.  I may have started Aussie Heroes but I am one person.  There are hundreds of you who have helped achieve what we have in the last 2 years.  Do not underestimate the contribution each of you has made. Whether it be quilts, laundry bags, blocks, quilting, fabric, post satchels, financial support, spreading the word or heart felt messages of encouragement.  Everything helps and every contribution makes a difference.  

I am excited by possibilities that the future holds for Aussie Heroes.  I don't know how many quilts and laundry bags we will have made by the end of next year, but I do know one thing - whatever we do achieve is more than was being done in the past and we are making a difference.

Till next time...................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx

Friday, 29 November 2013

Weekly Dispatches 29th November

Hi all,
If you have sent me photos in the last couple of days they may not have made it to the post tonight as internet is a bit uncooperative and it is too hard to load more pics.  Thankfully Caroline loaded these ones for me.  Now I just hope I can add the comments and get it to save.

22 quilts this week and 14 laundry bags.  

1270 quilts and 2291 laundry bags for 2013.  

2288 quilts and 3657 laundry bags in total.

Before we start tonight's show and tell I just want to remind you of one little thing.

WOO HOO!!!  

Am I excited?  You better believe it!  I promise there will be lots of photos!  I have even got a volunteer photographer who knows how to use a camera.  I will do my best to share as much with you as I can.

So on with the show.


Matching Laundry Bag (front & back)


Special Boxing Kangaroo (recipients name blocked so it's a surprise)



with awesome backing by Judy C

Dorothy made these as Blocks of the Month and the blocks were put together and quilted by Joanne!


Jane F



Judy C

More awesome backing from Judy C

Jo P




Pam Y


This top was donated - please tell me if it is yours so that I can edit this to give you credit!

I think this is a BOM quilt but PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.

These are definitely BOM quilts - and I love them!

Till next time...............keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx

Woo Hoo - if you are coming to the dinner tomorrow see you there!!


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Visiting the Old Bags and the Dag!!!

 G'day from sunny Brisbane.  
I have just had the loveliest day.  It started with waking to the sound of cows moo-ing on the property next door to where I was staying in Murwillumba. That was followed by a morning stroll through Vince and Sue's gorgeous garden with their three dogs, Basil, Beau and River. I will share some photos of that part of my visit, including the visit to Moo Moo Fabrics to spend the morning with Sue's sewing group yesterday, in Monday night's post.  For today I want to concentrate on my visit to Heritage Village, home of the Old Bags and the Dag!  

Sue and I met Angela there.  Two other special guests attended as well.  I can't show you any photos but we were lucky enough to be joined by two serving members, a husband and wife team who are both recently home from Operation Slipper.  Neither of them received a quilt from the Old Bags and the Dag but once they realised that the Village was close to where a family member lived they decided it was perfectly appropriate for them to visit and their efforts were very much appreciated.  

We were ushered in to the large gathering area that had been set up with seats and were shown to seats that had been reserved for us. 

I don't have photos of everything that happened. It is sometimes just too hard to remember to take photos when you are caught up in the moment.   There was lots happening.  I hope I have got all the details and the order of proceedings accurate but if I don't it will be close enough.  It was a wonderful morning.  

Michelle, the Diversional Therapist, talked about the sewing group and all that they do and then read out the latest email from a recipient who received one of their quilts.  

This is Margaret -she is the wonderful lady who makes it possible for the sewing group to participate in everything they do.  She spends an awful lot of her own time preparing fabric and blocks for the residents, and in particular, Harold, to sew.  

 Then I was invited to tell everyone the story of Aussie Heroes.

This is the first time I have given a presentation to people who sew for us and in front of a recipient!  NO PRESSURE!
I always stick to a script.  It is just much safer that way as I am liable to go off track and then we could have been there for HOURS.

I took four quilts to share but my photographer, Angela, was busy holding them up so there are not many photos of them.  This one is the special quilt that a bunch of the lovely Aussie Hero Friends made for me and presented to me on ANZAC Day this year.  

I also took along the two quilts that were made from the Challenge Blocks from last year's dinner.
 These are being beautifully modeled by some of our lovely Old Bags.     I think Harold must have been off flirting somewhere.

After my presentation our wonderful recipient said a few words to thank the residents for their part in Aussie Heroes.  She told them a little about herself and explained what a difference the quilts and laundry bags make to everyone.  She brought her quilt and laundry bag along to show everyone; a gorgeous cow themed quilt made by Carol from Turramurra, and a matching laundry bag made by Joan.  She presented a Commander's Coin and her slouch hat, worn during her deployment, to the Heritage Village and they were very delighted to accept them.

The Old Bags and the Dag in turn presented our recipient with a beautifully made baby quilt for a soon to be delivered grandbaby as well as a gorgeous bib that said "Nan's little Aussie Hero".  Oh too cute!

The Director of Nursing, Julie, then talked about Margaret's involvement in the Village.  She works tirelessly organising all sorts of activities that keep the lives of the residents enriched and interesting. It is obvious that she loves what she does and equally obvious that she makes a HUGE difference.  Most important of all is that she is truly appreciated by those that she works for and with.  Today Margaret, who normally likes to be in the background, had to take centre stage and Julie, and senior Village Staff paid tribute to her - and then she was on the receiving end - 

First a quilting book

then a beautiful quilt made by the residents and incorporating blocks signed by all the members of the Old Bags and the Dag.  

And finally flowers.

To say Margaret was taken aback would be an understatement. 

The giving wasn't over though.  Angela, Sue, our recipient and her husband and I were all treated to handmade plum puddings made by none other than our wonderful Harold!

Can you believe that he has made over 400 plum puddings of various sizes for this Christmas.  His pudding has been entered in to the local show and has one first prize too.  People he is 88 years old!  I don't want to hear ANY excuses from anyone about anything from now on. If Harold can make 400+ puddings we should be inspired!

And just whilst we are showing off Harold's talents - here is his other first prize winning effort - a small quilt to go at the foot of the bed for one of his daughters, designed and pieced by Harold!

We were treated to a special recitation by one of the residents, Mr Ray Bellamy, of Dorothy MacKellar's poem "My Country".  He did a wonderful job and it was very stirring.  

Keith, the village chaplain, played the piano and we all sang "I Still Call Australia Home" and then as a final treat, Dan, Keith's assistant serenaded out recipient with a very smooth version of "S'Wonderful".  Just gorgeous!

All in all it was a really lovely day - moving, uplifting and encouraging.  I personally, feel really blessed to have such wonderful inspiring people involved in Aussie Heroes.  I only hope I am half as terrific as they are when I am their age!

I then said goodbye to Sue and hopped into the car with Angela for the 90 minute plus drive to Brisbane.  We made a brief stop at a quilt shop - well, are you really surprised???

This place is seriously awesome!  They make a business out of having lots of quirky fun fabrics and many of them are just perfect for our Aussie Hero Quilts.
If you get the chance you seriously need to check them out.  You will find them at 70 Rostrevor Road Boondall, Brisbane and they can be contacted on 07 3266 2082.  Plus they have a Facebook Page.

And yes, maybe I did buy a little fabric!!!

I have lots of photos to share with you from my day with Sue's sewing group yesterday plus photos of Sue's gorgeous garden but that will have to wait till Monday's post.  Tomorrow we will have the Weekly Dispatches as usual and then on Sunday we will post the photos Saturday night's dinner!  I am getting just a little excited now - so many quilters to meet for the first time, not to mention the fact that we have Money Honey, SuperDad, Tank Guy and one other recipient coming.

So much to look forward to!

Till next time.............keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx